Anguish

I cannot say with what sadness I write these words, but I am in pain and I have to recover. I am speaking of a relationship which ended two months ago, some of which I have written about in responses to other relationship problem posts. Here, now, I want to get right to what I think is the point–I was abruptly reduced to being witness to a certain kind of feminine pain. I need comments and advice. I am ignorant of how cultural difference may have played a role. I am American, she is Taiwanese.

Almost all of what I will write here are her words and all of it came after we had become lovers. I had had a feeling that something was wrong while we were courting. But I had no idea what was coming. We lasted only about six months. This below is just some of what I learned.

About two months into the relationship I began to complain to her that I felt she was “distant”, that what I really wanted was intimacy, that in a way, I didn’t know who she was. I made it a condition of our seeing each other. This is what she then told me in the course of the next few months:

When she was 12 years old she came home from school early one day and found her father in bed with a girl not that much older than herself who worked for the family business. At that same time, her mother was in the hospital being treated for breast cancer. I was stunned and remained silent as she spoke. Her reaction was, she said: “It was my first experience with ‘those sounds’”. She said that her father discovered her and “begged” her not to tell her mother. She never did. When I asked her how she felt or feels about it now, her response was completely rational. She said that she knows that what her father did was wrong, but she can understand why he did it. He was “under stress” with the business and with her mother in the hospital. As she spoke these words there was not a trace of emotion. At 12 years of age, she became the most damaged and also the most powerful member of her family.

Soon after this, she abondoned her ambition to become a professional dancer. She said she realized “it was impossible”. A few years earlier, long before we became involved, she had said that she abandoned her ambition to be a dancer because of a back injury. (In all the time I was with her, I saw no evidence of a back injury.)

To this day she has had no serious career interests, although she is really intelligent. She “assumes” she will get married and that the marriage will be an unhappy one. She works as a contracted or outsourced secretary in a large company. She is bored by her job. Her adult life has been defined by a series of short affairs with men. No relationship has lasted more than 8 months. She said that every time the relationship has the following pattern: She really loves and adores somebody, she thinks that he is the “one”, “and then,” she says “something always happens”. The guy makes her “the center of his life” and sooner or later she begins to feel “superior” to him and he begins to “disgust” her. She then ends it by simply refusing to speak to the guy anymore. She doesn’t even say that “its over” (although with me she did, saying, “this is better than just ‘going silent’”) The guys then obsess over her, sometimes for years. She says that her only choice is to “become cold”.

She told me that she has lied to and cheated on every boyfriend she’s ever had. She told of how men “beg” her to say that she loves them, but she hates to say those words, because they are “just words.” I asked her what she thinks intimacy is. She said “this”, meaning sex.

She described herself to me as “sick” and in need of “help.” She told me that “if I know a guy is ‘into’ me, I will torture him.” And she does, as she did me. Intense love, adoration followed by icy coldness as if the relationship were over, then a return, then a break up, then another return. In anguish more than once, I pleaded with her to try to be open with herself and me. Her responses were “I’m out of ideas, just love me” or “I am blank, just fuck me.” I could never be sure after each time I was with her whether I would see her again or not. Yet I hung on. She told me : “You are my only reality. Everything else is false. With you I have everything and nothing.” She described our relationship as both “impossible” and also, “the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

I consider her to be unspeakably unhappy. I consider her to be a hysteric:

“The hysteric…emphasizes the partner or Other, making herself into the object of the Other’s desire so as to master it. The Other is the desiring subject in the hysteric’s fantasy—usually a partner (lover or spouse) who desires when and how the hysteric as object sees fit. Indeed, the hysteric orchestrates things in such a way as to ensure that the Other’s desire remains unsatisfied, leaving the hysteric a permanent role as object. The Other as desiring subject here is but a puppet: it is the Other whose desire is kept unsatisfied by the hysteric in order for the hysteric to be able to maintain her role as desired object, as desire’s lack. We shall see that the hysteric is also characterized by the better-known “desire for an unsatisfied desire” of her own; Lacan goers so far as to define the hysteric’s stance by saying that hysteria is characterized by an unsatisfied desire.” --Bruce Fink A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique p 123.

Indeed, in ending it with me she is now the object par excellence. At her current job, bored and restless, she amuses herself by wearing sexy, tight, low cut black outfits and she enjoys reporting how her boss and the married men “fidget” when she is working with them.

I hung on to her inspite of my anguish. I tried to pull her into discourse, to get her to talk about herself, to take an interest in the way her life was patterened. I wanted, hoped, that she would become a subject and give up the morbid pleasures of being the object of (and victim of) desire.

The thing is, I do not think she KNOWS that she is in the grip of a neurosis. She thinks that she has “bad luck” with men because she is “too nice”. She has described herself as “doomed” and “tragic”. Indeed, she only reads tragedies and only loves movies that end badly. She absolutely hates comedy. She describes men as, in general, “stupid” and easy to manipulate. Her younger sister, when still in high school, had serious love problems which I will not describe. I told her, “your sister needs help; she need an intervention or she is doomed.” She replied, “yes, she is doomed.”

She managed, powerfully, to be the object both of my desire and of my concern.

And so on, and so on…there is more, but this I believe is the kernel of my story with her, my anguish.

Sounds like a typical Taiwanese love story? Nobody has ever accused TAiwanese girls with being too simple and easy to manage? AT least not me.

Shes got issues and hopefully she will grow out of them. Sounds like shes probably VERY cute and that is sometimes (often) a factor that leads to unhappy girls.

Just be real with her and show her love. She thinks love equals sex I think? And sex is just a temporal pleasure with her. Not what drives her?

She will only stay with someone she NEEDS.

You still love her don’t you. I know how you feel.
A problem for us foreigners is that we really don’t understand Taiwanese culture. We joke about the fact, but it is nonetheless true. All your ex witnessed was her father cheating, but for some reason she has bottled this up and it has eaten away at her. Now she needs counselling to help her move forwards. The likelihood is that she won’t get that help, and her life will become a self fulfilling propechy. The saddest moment with MrsHill was when she was able to admit that she was not in a good place mentally, that she needed help, but that she definitely 100% would not go and get that help, no matter how much I offered to be there as she went through it. End result, she is back in Taiwan, depressed in her job, talking about quitting it and travelling. This from a girl who left me to go home back to the safety of Taiwan and her job, just 8 weeks ago. She isn’t playing me around, she is playing herself around. And that sounds like your ex too. ‘I’m miserable, I’m depressed, I don’t want to do anything about it, stick around for the show if you like.’

Where you need to be is in a place where you can say, ‘I offered help, she wouldn’t take it, and I can’t do anything helpful by sticking around and getting dragged into the mud too.’ The desire to help, coupled with the desire to not be lonely are what crushed me. It’s like wanting to hold on to a red hot poker, not being sure why, but thinking that letting go would be worse than the pain of holding it.

You and me need to have a virtual beer session together. I let go of the poker, the pain is worse, and I am struggling with it. Chin up. Soon another nutter in a skirt will turn my head and the dance will start again!

She didn’t just catch her father cheating. She caught him in the act of raping - and there is no other word for it - a girl of only 12 years old. Her first exposure to sex was her father committing pedophilia. No wonder she bottled it up.

You need to visit Irishstu’s thread and get yourself a custom-designed tattoo. He’ll be able to supply what you need.

No! No! Not rape. A young woman “not that much older” than… I don’t know exactly how much older.

She can be changed only if you persevere and do not yield to her manipulation.

But you did, and that’s why things deteriorated.

If you believe it’s worth the trouble, then try to help her, but it sounds like it will be a lot of trouble.

You’d have to always be there for her, in a reasonable way. And do only what is reasonable and right

No showing your frustration and shouting, just patience and more patience.

She needs someone who sees through all her tricks and can’t be manipulated so easily. When she sees that the manipulation doesn’t work, she won’t do it anymore. If, at this time, you provide her with a better method of achieving what she wanted without the manipulation, she might be more inclined to use that method to communicate next time.

But this breaking up stuff is no good. Probably just affirms her belief that no man is to be completely trusted, as they always give up on her. The torture is kind of a way to see how much you love her. And when you gave up, she probably thought “oh, he’s not the person that will love me no matter what either”.

Basically she wants someone who will discourage her from doing destructive things and loves her unconditionally. She may not always act like she wants to change, but she does. Or else she wouldn’t show you her sick side. It’s all a big scream for help :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t plead, don’t show that she gets to you. Show that you really love her, and that you want to help her. Love and obsession are different.
If you believe that you can be a strong, wise, loving man who adheres to his principles, then help her.
If you believe that things will just deteriorate again, forget about her.

No one can make you feel anything unless you let them. Why are you letting her make you feel so negative?

Yes, TomHill, I do still love her, in spite of myself. Yes, when I read her story in this compressed form I am obviously way over my head in thinking I might help her, and I need to let go completely. I agee also that she will always be with someone she NEEDS and only NEEDS and only when she is in NEED. If I am right and she is a hysteric, she is not borderline, she’s the real thing, and the big problem is the hysteric’s powerful desire NOT TO KNOW. In some way, she has learned to take some pleasure her unappiness, to take pleasure in being an object (and in, as she sees it, being a victim of numerous “weird” men), of eliciting desire in order to master it by leaving the desire unsatisfied–that’s why she rarely even officially breaks up! That pattern what I was trying gently to coax her out of.

Near the end she told me that her best freind suggested to her that the problem was not with all the men she went out with; the problem was her. I echoed that when she told me. I told her thet she was somehow sub- or un-consciously arranging this. That’s when she said that no, “I’m just too nice.”

It was she, lupillus, who broke up with me, twice; and who distanced herself from me at other times, so that I could not but think that it was over. (In fact I just remembered that she said she is always the one who breaks up. She said she has never had her heart broken in that way.) I never once yelled or get angry with her. I set conditions twice to which she responded with much of the information I relay in the OP. She once said that I was “too sympathetic” to her. And, yes, she does have an ideal love in mind, she had told me. Love that is pure and unconditional, she used those words. But she says that she always believes that this guy or that guy will be “it”. But then he is never “it”. He becomes “weak” and, as I said, she feels disgust. If I’m not wrong, the pure love she wants is precisely NEVER IT; she takes some sub-or unconscious pleasure in the fact that this or that guy is not “it”; that she is never satisfied and never will be. That, as I say, is her ‘comfort zone.’ Otherwise, she would change or at least, at this point–there’s been quite a few men of all types in her life–be more articulate.

Anyway, she broke up with me. I have avoided bombarding her with messages, phone calls, or emails. I sent her a text asking how she was two days after. She said, “except for a cold that makes my voice extra sexy, I feel GREAT!” I sent her a email outlining (in different terms from my post) the pattern I see, and I ended saying that if she ever wants to talk, I will be there for her. I have the feeling she deleted it unread. I sent her a text saying that I was over the pain. Then I had to send another telling her that I lied, that I was still in love with her, and that that was the one truth in my life. That’s all I said. She never responded if she read my messages at all.

I have not asked to get back together with her.

Why am I in pain? That mystifies me too. Not too long ago, during a period when she had distanced herself, did not want to see me but could not say why because she “tends not to think about things” and so just “hurts” (always the object, never a subject) I assumed it was over and in fact, I read my diary last night, I was “cured” of her. I stopped contacting her. I could go a whole day without thinking of her.

Then, out of the blue she began to contact me. In fact I can recall seeing a message from her and thinking to myself “Now why is she contacting me?” I didn’t even return the message. But eventually there was a phone call. I was reserved and rational. I told her that I did not want this, that I did not want this kind of passion/ice love. I said that if we get together again it will be because “you love me, with your whole heart, and not in some weird uncontrollable passion way.” In the following weeks, she convinced me that she did. She said words that I knew she was usually loathe to say. I swore to myself that I could hear sincerety in her voice. I had hope again. I had her again for a couple beautiful weeks. Then I left for a one week vacation, returned, and she said “I’m ending this.” Reason was “when you were away, I felt relaxed.” That was the reason. I questioned her–“was it me?” “No.” “Well, what happened?” Silence. I said “I have never doubted that you love me.” I said bye bye. She said good bye.

Sounds to me like she’s enjoying this game enormously. Lots and lots of self-affirmation there. Sounds to me like you’re not enjoying it at all. Yet still you play. You have to ask yourself why. Because you think you love her? But THIS is “her” and it doesn’t sound like you love her at all. She’s toying with you, you’re toying with yourself, you’re both hurting as a result. Problem is, you don’t enjoy the pain but she does.

Just sing this song… youtube.com/watch?v=aCZx5-b9 … re=related

lupillus and Sandman made a good start, but I think this is a job for Flicka. His love advice is like a cold shower when you need one.

Where is Flicka?

I listen to the Manhatten Transfer. So You Say

Interesting indeed. I tend to think that there’s a fine balance between letting your girl know you are there for her and promoting fear in her . Some girls fear commitment more then men.

They want you to love them and want you to be available when they want you and when they need you. But they want that parachute to fly out of your life when someone else comes along that they are really looking for. They want that OPT OUT feature to be in your relationship. Partly because they themselves are unsure what they want. For whatever reason, they are not ready. Not ready to say “you are the one”.

With a girl like that, its better to leave some things unsaid. Go out, have fun, make love, enjoy each others company and perhaps best not to discuss a joint future until SHE brings it up. And then let her talk, let her tell you that she loves you and that she wants you and that shes afraid of losing you. Dont let her know that YOU are the one whos desperately in love with her. Desperation is not an admirable trait in the mind of many ladies.

LIve the life rather then talk about the future if your girl is afraid and unsure. Shes unsure of herself and who she is and who she wants to be. Dont declare your undying love for her. Sometimes girls love bad boys because they want to feel no pain when they leave them. And because bad boys usually dont tell them they love them. They tell them they wanna bang em.

What I would do. And of course I am no expert in any way shape or form (notice I am not married). But if i was involved with a girl i really am very fond of, but I knew she couldnt commit. I wouldnt push her. I would just busy myself with her whenever possible. And not talk bout the future. Just go out and be buds, be lovers, enjoy the minute, the hour, the day, the week.

If its all enjoyable, she wont wait to be with you again. She wont wait to get on the fone to call you and wont wait to be there waiting for you to get off work. Because SHE will realize that she NEEDS YOU. And she HAS TO HAVE YOU. And she has to WIN you with her love.

If shes got it all with you without a battle to get it, she may get restless and start thinking what else is out there.

Dont come easy. Make her work for your love. When she chases you, she will treasure you.

Spot on Tommy.

Some women (not all) respond well to this type of ‘game playing’.

Me, I’m hopeless at doing what you suggest, but I’ve tried it, and it works a charm. But at the end of the day I don’t like playing games with women (or people, for that matter).

But its not a game. Its just human nature. We want what we cant have. WE dont want what is right there for us. We feel that there must be more. And if its easy to come by, we dont treasure it.

People who married after world war 2 usually stayed married because they went through the war. They knew to treasure life and to treasure people, because they lost people they loved.

The point is that the girl needs space and needs the freedom to make a choice. Her choice. She needs to learn to love YOU. And you need to give her space to do this. If you love her when shes not ready then shes scared she wont be able to get away from you. And thats not a good thing.

Even Jesus Christ does the same. Except that He says that He is there for you always. You wont be there for her always and you shouldnt be either.

Let her know you are interested in a future with her and that you understand if she doesnt feel the same. And concentrate on doing stuff together. Its like the situation when you go out with a girl you just met. The first date went well and you arrange one next week. Then you are going out twice a week. Then 3 times a week, then 4 times a week, then 5 times a week, then 6 times a week then 7 times an week and SUDDENLY one day you realize that you are spending EVERYDAY together. And it may be a revelation. This has more chance of happening if you dont talk about it all the time. If you dont have a great time and just before you let her go home profess that she is your one true love, that you cant live without her, etc. You willl FREAK her out.

If you are the one always saying “I love you” and she ISNT. Then you need to pull back and be quiet. Let her have enough line to tire and the reel her in when she wants to be reeled. If you fight her the line will break and you will lose your fish. And you know something? She will lose YOU too. And maybe she didnt want to lose you. Maybe she didnt want to but she was forced to make a decision when she wasnt ready and she chose FREEDOM. She chose herself. But if you have allowed yourself to be cultivated into her life, she will realize that she loves YOU.

Women want to be appreciated but they want to LOVE too, not just be loved.

If a girl chases you and chases you and chases you and catches you, shes likely to want to keep you. Just make sure to be worth it for her and things will work out. :slight_smile:

Its not a game, its dead serious. Its strategy. Its ugly sometimes but if you wont play it, someone else will in her life.

You cant just throw yourself at a girls mercy. Let her be in distress and call for you and you save her (from herself).

She once said, I now recall, that she could never trust me because I was “a foreigner”. I said that oh, yes I’ve heard stories about foreigners who’ve gotten together with girls here and then just left after a year or so. Was that what she meant? No. But she couldn’t explain. I said I’ve been here 5 years, have a full time job and will be promoted soon. Did I ever indicate I would leave? No.

She said she couldn’t trust me because I’m a teacher a some student would undoubtedly seduce me. Again, I reasoned with her. Never happened. Not ethical. Do I seem like the kind of guy who would…? Again. No.

She once looked me right in the eyes and said, “I suppose all your friends would say ‘Get rid of the bitch’”. I said that yes, they probably would.

All this happened after I had begun to understand how her life was patterened in a way that conforms to much of what I have read about hysterics, both case studies and theory. I was gambling–gambling that I could surprise her, take her out of her pattern, even a little bit, and get some fresh air…that even if she and I did not work out, she need not live the fate of the hysteric which I understand as follows:

The hysteric is someone whose life of desire is a mess, is disorganized, and whose pleasure is not clearly connected to any desire. Ask any “normal” person in the Western world what they desire and most times they’ll say : a spouse, children, decent job, and nice community. They then organize their life around that desire and most of the pleasure they get in life is connected to that desire. This is not so for the hysteric who is looking for a Master–someone who will organize their life for them. Sadly, the hysteric often gets a Master in the form a sadistic partner who is abusive. OR, she gets involved with a pervert, since the pervert seems to take desire out of the picture and just promises pleasure. I actually discussed this with her whe we watched the Korean film “Ardor” about a lonely physician who sets up an anonymous sexual relationship with an unhappy woman. They don’t desire each other: they meet, they have sex, they leave until next time. She asked if I thought that that is what we were doing. I told her that that is what I want to avoid. She had no response.

When I asked this woman what she looks for in a man, she said “Someone who will lead me.” A master, in short. I asked what she thought of me. She said she felt that we were “equals.” For me–democratic American–that’s what’s desireable.

I think this woman is in for a lot more pain than she imagines she can handle. Perhaps, after surprising her father, she thinks that this is the “truth” about men; perhaps this is her ‘capital’ or the emotonal prophylactic that will protect her from being hurt. Maybe her superiority comes from thinking that since she was 12 she has corned the market on truth, that she has seen reality–everything else is “just words”.

So, yes, maybe she’s playing a game; but, I do not think she fully understands the game.

Tralangue, what are you looking for in a woman? Focus on that. It helps a little.

Thanks TomHill and actually everyone for serious responses. A friend told me that I must have found her to be a “challange”. I think that’s true. That’s why, in another post, I said I had to admit my love for her was not pure. I found her life–the patterns, her capacity for cruelty including the cruelty to herself–to be interesting and utlimately to be visible even to her, so that …

I did, Tommy, distance myself from her, as I mentioned, I do wonder if she came back because of that, and because I set conditions. In fact, each time she “came back” it was with deepened love, talk of marriage, etc. This last time it was with those words.

I guess I hurt because I feel I put a lot of work into the thing and she could not even respect me enough to say something like: “I tried but I just can’t make this work for me”. Even a cliche like that would have helped a lot. She broke up because she was “relaxed”–I don’t even know what that means. So I guess I have anger towards her at the same time that I understand her to be hopelessly neurtic and always in danger.

Yes, I should think about the kind of woman I want. --You hang in there too, TomHill

icanhascheezburger.com/
Enough said.